In Search of

Jenny Xie


It wasn’t          the knob of sun

Or grainy currents         crossing the eye

that invites the thought             that you’ve finally arrived

at the clearest understanding     this very instant on the Huangpu River

where the mind is serrated           dragging its way


All this thinking          thousands along the river and inland

and still meaning is heavier          than the bodies we yoke it to


Surely for this reason        death must announce itself 

again and again      in such sour language 

so we may live closer                  to the senses


Moments when we feel history                  pulling from behind

the eyes         the mouth hooked

But the remainder         of this life

is still millions of kilometers away            from being born

Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level, recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.

Image: Anonymous, Endleaves of Art. Taste. Beauty, 1932.